Jess Bogdwicz, Erin Koletar, and Lauryn Kostopoulos led the scoring charge for Marvin Tyson’s Bunnell High girls basketball team when the Lady Bulldogs defeated coach Cliff LaRose’s Stratford High squad 79-40 on Friday night at Bunnell.
“We are getting better defensively,” Tyson said after his team improved to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the South-West Conference. “We started out with a man-to-man defense, and once we got the lead, we switched to a zone defense to try to conserve some energy.
“It’s something we’ve been working on, mixing up our strategy and transitioning from one defensive style to another.”
Tyson still has high hopes of playoff contention for his team, which currently averages 55 point per game.
This contest got off to a fast start, with both teams employing a full-court press.
The strategy finally paid off for Bunnell, as several steals allowed the Lady Bulldogs to open up a 14-4 lead with about five minutes left in the first period.
During that run, Bunnell was aided by seven points by Koletar, including a 3-pointer, and five points from Bogdwicz, which included a 3-point shot.
Stratford tried to offset Bunnell’s aggression with baskets by Aimee Sportini and a 3-pointer by Margaux Mahoney, but Bunnell had stretched the score to 20-7 with three minutes left in the opening stanza.
An outside shot and a pair of free throws by Bogdwicz, and a pass from the junior to Bianca Burgos for a basket, took the score to 26-7 before Stratford’s Julia Genetti made a free throw and tacked on a basket.
The quarter ended with the margin at 26-10.
Bunnell stretched its lead in the second quarter, this time with a diverse attack from Bogdwicz, Koletar, Kostopoulos, Burgos and Caitlyn Carrafiello.
Not a single point was scored by either squad, however, for almost a minute and a half into the quarter.
Finally, Bogdwicz passed to Carrafiello, who sank a two-point shot to break the scoreless streak.
The Lady Bulldogs stretched their lead to 35-10, and the zone defense proved effective.
Stratford did not score for nearly three and a half minutes, until Amaris Woodson tallied its first two points of the quarter.
Bunnell outscored Stratford 23-13 in the second period, with the fast pace of the game helping Bunnell to score off rebounds and fast breaks.
Bogdwicz and Kostopoulos both sank threes, while Mahoney did the same for the Red Devils.
The half ended with the score at 49-23, and Bunnell crossed the 50-point mark on a free throw in the third quarter by Kostopoulos.
Much like the second quarter, Stratford was kept off the board until the fourth minute of play, when Genetti netted a pair of free throws.
Bogdwicz buried a 3-pointer and was fouled, completing the four-point play with a successful free throw. By the end of the third quarter, Bunnell led 64-28.
Reserves dominated the final period, where the Lady Bulldogs managed to outscore the Red Devils 15-12.
Seven of Bunnell’s points came on free throws, including two by Koletar and two by junior Michelle Costa.
Stratford’s fourth-quarter scoring was highlighted by four points from freshman Genesis Torres, including a pair of free throws, and a 3-pointer by Aneeka Scott-Gray.
All in all, Bogdwicz led both teams in scoring, contributing 20 points overall, including a trio of 3-pointers. The junior was also 7-for-7 in free throws.
Koletar was the second-highest scorer, with 17 points and three 3-point shots.
Kostopoulos accounted for 15 points, while Burgos was responsible for 10.
Collectively, the squad netted seven 3-point shots and was 16-for-19 in free throws.
On the Stratford side, Genetti and Sportini were the Red Devils’ highest scorers, each accounting for seven points.
“Our team is still very much a work in progress,” LaRose said. “We have a young team, and they are learning every day and working hard every day. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing, make a few changes here and there, and things will come together.”
LaRose also noted the recent achievement of senior guard Jamie Russo, who was named News 12’s Scholar Athlete of the Week.
Stratford will host Brookfield Friday at 7 p.m. and Oxford High Saturday at 1:45. Barlow visits on Tuesday at 5:30.